“You weren’t aiming for pretty, were you?” exclaimed the one stylist to Melissa, the woman who kindly volunteered to turn my hair rosy. We all cracked up as I said, “Nothing about this past week has been about pretty.” It was Friday afternoon and the culmination of a most amazing week. That morning the executive of the Human Kinetics and Recreation Society has been in my office, dressed in pink props, presenting me with a cheque for $500. Theirs, along with a few others that day, insured we met the goal of reaching the halfway mark of the climb’s fundraising goal and I would be keeping my two o’clock appointment at Signature Salon.
I wasn’t sure who was more nervous, Paula or I. We gone for a celebratory lunch at the Casbah where a woman at the neighbouring table was overhead saying, “Look we get to sit by the angel.” Personally I was identifying as “Madame Butterfly” that day. I’d spent the morning leading a teaching seminar for grad students and I must said they looked a bit aghast as a pink winged, wild panted, scarf wearing professor showed up at the front of their classroom.
The process started with stripping the dark brown from my hair turning it into golden yellow. We joked that I could assume the moniker “Golden Rod” and that it wouldn’t be good to stop the process there. Melissa decided to leave the roots brown to provide shadow and texture for my face (and I thought–“That will give me a head start on growing it out.”). Paula snapped picture after picture of the process and seemed quite pleased that I was about to be transformed into a coral-topped wonder. As Melissa applied the first stroke of colour, Paula turned a very pale shade of pink, threw her hands in front of her face, and didn’t say a word for 15 minutes. At that moment, I became a tad bit worried.
After the rest of the almost nuclear glowing pink dye was applied, I was wrapped in cellophane and tucked under the hair dryer to cook. For twenty minutes, I reflected on what it must be like to be undergoing cancer treatment and face the unknown, to face the loss of hair and identity, and to not have much choice about what was unfolding. It was then that I calmed down and knew that having pink hair was not going to be a big deal. Although the dye was permanent, my hair would grow and a few months from now, I’ll be back to a full head of regular colored hair.
When Melissa rinsed the dye from my head, pink bubbles abounded and Paula came back to life. A photographer and writer from MUN dropped by and we had fun regaling them of stories from the week. My day glow hair emerged and as Melissa dried and styled it I could see a mix of reactions on the other stylists faces-ranging from bemused grin to abject horror.
Paula and I stepped out unto the street for some pictures and she asked me to don some lipstick to complete the hair, scarf, lip trilogy and I initially refused. It had been a huge week of being out on my edge and I was tired. I refused a few more times but eventually gave it and took the lipstick and mirror. I puckered my lips and instantly Paula grasped the situation, I truly had no idea of how to put on lipstick. We laughed until our guts almost spilled out on the sidewalk and then I turned my back to try to put some on. Again, Paula was in near convulsive laughter as she noticed that I held the lipstick solid and moved my head around to apply it!.
I rushed home as I was giving the rally speech for the Take Back the Night march that evening and tried to sort out what to wear. I finally settled on a black jacket and black pants since it’s sometimes hard to get shades of pink to match. I gave an on-camera interview with NTV just before the march began and the interviewer seemed to take my pink locks in stride (unlike most of my friends who saw me there.) I’ve been wearing black since and with my return to a normal wardrobe, I easily forget that I’m doing an imitation of a flamingo with a mullet.
Thanks to all who supported Pink Outside the Box this week-your generosity allowed us to get to base camp with the overall campaign (perhaps even camp one). The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic will put the funds to very good use in trying to create a future that is free from breast cancer. Special thanks to Paula Tessier for all of her support and efforts this week and to Marian Wissink who followed me around on a busy week to capture Pink Outside the Box in pictures. Click here and here to see images from the week.
The week was full of “Ring of Fire” moments and times of wonderful connection. I had so many conversations that would not have occurred if I hadn’t taken on the challenge of both climbing Pumori and dressing in pink. There are so many stories to tell but given my to-do needs to have a few items taken off it, I’ll share just a few of my highlights…the moments that will stand out for years to come.
• Playing ball hockey with pink wings on my back and hearing my teammates call out, “Go Wings, fly up that court.”
• Having Sarah give me pink laces to stick in my skates and Cherry and I rip out my old laces in record time to get the new ones in before the zamboni got off the ice.
• Hiding in the pink carnations at the dollar store and being able to blend in.
• Having Wanda come to an early morning training hike in pink pajamas as support to me and having a WOKies Pink Happy Hour (Thanks, AM).
• Wearing a belly dancing skirt that arrived in the nick of time from Qatar on a morning training hike above Quidi Vidi and realizing I would never use an ordinary bear bell again.
• Being moved by a groundswell of support and receiving pink wings, sunglasses, hair curlers, purses, lipstick, and shell bra to wear this week.
• Seeing Joanna’s face at the arena when she saw me playing hockey in her pink gloves.
• Getting a lesson from Steph and Megan in the many ways to wear a scarf and being amazed that I said, “This is a nice scarf.”
• Realizing that at the end of the week, I can imagine wearing pink, that I look pretty darn good in pink, and that it’s always good to try new things and new colours because you never know where they will lead.
I leave for Nepal a week from tomorrow. I had a pretty good week training and capped off the preparations for doing a ten ascent sequence on Signal Hill. Joined by many of the WOKies and a few others, I climbed the road leading to the top of Signal Hill, carrying my 55-pound pack, ten times. It took about 4 hours of climbing and I gained 4500 feet of elevation in that time. I wasn’t sure how it would go since I hadn’t done the road route since before Kilimanjaro. I’m pleased to report it went well and I feel a nice boost of confidence as a result. Thanks to all who helped out yesterday.
The to do list is still long–but I will chew away at it step by step like anything else. I hope to have a reasonably relaxed week clueing up life here, training some, packing, saying good-byes, and mentally preparing for the challenges of Pumori. I’ll send out one more weekly update before heading out. I’ll be audio blogging to my website as well the myeverest site. I hope you’ll continue to follow along when I’m on the mountain. I’ll count on your support to push up up from behind.
Have a good week,